by Mike Potter
CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM/DURHAM Duke returns for its first ACC home game this season, and the opponent is one the Blue Devils have dominated for a long time.
No. 9 Duke will take on a respectable 10-5 Wake Forest team that beat Virginia Tech in its ACC opener on Thursday, the same night the Blue Devils were rolling all over Clemson on the road.
Duke has won 32 straight in the series, and with the ACC's wacky schedule this will be their only meeting of the regular season.
Wake has a couple of local players on the roster in Lakevia Boykin out of Southeast Raleigh and Asia Williams out of Durham Hillside.
The domination won't change today, as the Blue Devils win 65-51 for their 23rd straight victory on their home floor.
Wake plays it very tough early on, leading 9-8 on a Secily Ray free throw with 11:14 left in the first half.
But the Blue Devils go on a 27-2 run before Brittany Waters scores the Deacons' next point on a free throw with 1:20 left in the half.
Wake plays a solid second half, but can't quite put the result in doubt at any point. The score is 55-41 following a Camille Collier 3-pointer with 6:31 to play, but Duke responds with a 7-1 run to lock it up.
Bridgette Mitchell (pictured) ties her career high with 20 points to lead Duke, adds nine rebounds and makes two 3-pointers in the same game for the first time in her career.
Jasmine Thomas adds 13 points, including a 3-pointer that is her 29th of the season and gives her a career high in that department.
Boykin leads Wake with 12 points while Waters chips in 10.
Duke outshoots the Deacons 41.0 percent to 32.0, and wins the rebound battle 52-30. But the floor game is pretty even as Duke commits 18 turnovers to the visitors' 17. Neither team shoots well at the line, as Duke is 12-for-22 and Wake 13-for-25.
They said it ...
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie: "I really liked the first half - the rebounding, Bridgette's effort and energy and Jasmine's consistency on running things. We had a lot of broken plays and situations out there, a lot of funny things going on defensively with trapping off ball screens. In the first half I thought that we executed beautifully and really made some good points offensively and defensively, and in the second I thought we let up and that showed with us being 'defeated' (36-30) in the second half."
Wake coach Mike Petersen: "For 28 minutes we played pretty well, and for 12 minutes we looked like we had never met one another. ... We made a run and got their attention, and they fought back. We talked about this before we came down. That's what they (the Blue Devils) do - and they do it extremely well - is that they disrupt you more than anything else. They make you take shots that are a little quicker than you want them to be."
Mitchell: "Our team is constantly thinking about getting better. We had lapses - in the first half we came out great, but the second half wasn't. For the next game we have to play a whole 40 minutes, and we have definitely made steps towards that."
Boykin: "I thought our preparation was good. When we got here, we just had some turnovers that we shouldn't have had. I think some of the turnovers we had were unforced, and we just needed to relax."
What does it all mean?
That Duke can sometimes play a great 10 minutes and have that be enough to put away a mid-level ACC opponent. And that Wake doesn't seem to quit when it looks to be hopelessly behind.
Stars of the game
2. J. Thomas.
Play of the game
Mitchell's 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 49-32 with 11:28 left.
Duke leads 51-18.
Duke: Won 7.
Wake: Lost 1.
Duke at Miami, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Wake Forest at Georgia Tech, Thursday, 7 p.m.